Through his evolution as a pro Woods has shown that for all his charisma and flair for the dramatic, he is about, above all else, discipline and methodical improvement. Now a solid 6'2", 180 pounds, Woods's arms and shoulders are visibly more muscular as a result of a weight training program. To build stamina Woods goes on long runs regularly; at Valderrama he ran at least three miles each day with his caddie, Steve Williams, and agent, Mark Steinberg. He also underwent Lasik eye surgery last month, which improved his vision to 20-15, and he hasn't lost a tournament since.
"I was there the first time Tiger worked with my dad in August 1993," said Butch Harmon's son, Claude III, "and he has been a better player each time I've seen him, without fail, whether it was after two days or two months. He's an incredible worker and a more incredible learner. The biggest improvement he's ever made might be the one from May to now."
That does not bode well for everyone chasing Woods. "We've got to keep stepping it up a notch" says Love. "But while we've been saying that, he's stepped it up another notch."
The big question is, How much better can Woods get? In addition to his dream of winning all four majors in one year, Woods's overriding—although unstated—goal is to surpass Nicklaus's record of 20 major championships. Counting his three U.S. Amateur titles, Woods now has five majors, the same number Nicklaus had at age 23. Says Nicklaus, "Not only has he got a lot of what I had, he may have a lot more of it. Time will tell." Adds Nelson, "I wouldn't say he couldn't do it. He's got that burning desire, the diligence never to let up. In fact, I see his desire growing."
Even Miller, who once predicted that Woods would win 50 tournaments and 10 majors, is ready to revise his projection. "It's kind of been heresy to think about catching Jack, but Tiger has been groomed for it. If you figure he's got 15 good years left, and he wins one major a year, he's there."
Asked at Valderrama how much more improvement he could make, Woods answered, "A lot." In all areas? "Always. I don't know how much better I can get—I don't know," he said. "But I can tell you one thing: I will continue to work very hard."
That's why, on the singular path he has chosen for himself, Woods will continue to run far ahead of the pack.